All posts by Erik Montville

Mob n Mojave Wrap-Up - Moderately Upset Multi-Biker

Moderately Upset Multi BikerIn the good tradition of keeping my Multi-Biker hat on, I helped out this past weekend at the latest Bootleg Canyon Mob n’ Mojave DH / Super D put on by Downhill Mike by driving the sketchy shuttle truck. I’m sure you either hate the driver or love him, but it was not an easy task. If you came to the event, like every other one that is held out there, thank you. You saw some great racing by young and old, beginner and pro. If not, why didn’t you go?

There is definitely a higher percentage of us who can’t ride the downhill trails at Bootleg than those who can, so we tend to just turn away and shun these events because it’s nothing you would do or commit to do.  Like you, I don’t drive 180mph , but I’ll make it to a NASCAR race every blue moon, and I’m sure you will too because it’s entertaining  and a spectator sport.  I can’t play basketball or football, but there I am, sitting in the stands, just sitting, and sitting, watching…  Hate to break it to you, but DH racing is a spectator sport too, and you can probably relate to this a lot easier than Cole Trickle and his factory Chevrolet or Mookie Blaylock and his 3-pointers.   If you think this is just some backwoods second rate race, think again.  With sponsors like All Mountain Cyclery, KHS, Canfield Bros., DVO, Commencal, FiveTen, Kali, Box Components, Xyience, Promax, MJT Designs and MTB Parks.com, it shows that major companies are willing to put up to have you show Bootleg Canyon Signup, even if it’s to watch.  KHS has a great presence in Bootleg and Las Vegas in general, so it’s great to have their pro racers run this race instead of shuttling them out of town.  Seeing Logan Binggeli and Kevin Aiello race is mind blowing because just when you think you’re fast, you’re not.  Same goes for the rest of the pro field and all the highly talented riders in the rest of the categories.  Truly amazing.

At the recent Interbike, I went to the Crit Finals to cheer on some close friends.  Being the Multi-Biker, I like my road riding and personal challenges with friends.  But watching a crit race that means a lot to the riders in the field had my heart rate at max because I could not envision myself in this group going this fast this close.  It’s like NASCAR, but with spandex.  Getting a mountain biker to a road race really opens your eyes.  Crashes are different and ugly, the pace is amazing, and how can you go for so long at such as pace?  Viagra?  To them it’s not easy, but it is a natural talent with a lot of training and therefore seems routine.  At the other end of the spectrum is DH racing in Bootleg Canyon, or Bloodlet Canyon for what that place does to you. These guys and gals are not crazy, just talented.  To be a DH racer at Bootleg, you have to have that natural talent.  To tame or attempt to tame that ridge is something to be had.  It will eat you alive then spit what remains back out.  It’s not a terrible course as some may say, it’s Boulder City, it’s Nevada.  Bootleg shreds tires, derailleurs, rims, bones and souls.

TaReaper_Madnesske the time to go to the next event, Reaper Madness sponsored by FiveTen, this coming March 13-16 and hike up the course to watch these courageous riders try and tame Bootleg.  If you can’t ride it, take the time to appreciate those who do.  It’s a sight to see. With the addition of Dual Slalom, this event will truly be spectator friendly.

Please take a moment to read more words from the kind folks at MtbParks.com, and read Michelle’s column in Decline Magazine as well as Pinkbike.com.  I had a pleasure speaking with her about the status of mountain biking in Las Vegas the future of mountain bike parks.

 

Related Links:

Mob N Mojave Race Recap - MTBParks.com

Mob N Mojave Race Recap - Pinkbike

Downhill Mike

Why I Ride

Moderately Upset Multi BikerThere have been multiple articles written about why we ride our bikes – the solitude, pain, peacefulness, or being close to nature. Probably none of them have said they ride a bike because it’s cool. I ride because it’s in my blood. My first bike was when I was 3. It’s a bit foggy, but I remember my dad taking me outside in the February snow and rolling me down our sidewalk leading to the driveway and using the snow bankings like a child uses bumpers in a bowling alley, just to stay up. I’m not sure what got me hooked; was it riding with my brother as a young boy and doing whatever he did? Was it just feeling free? Both? I think it was Mike who had a big influence on me. We had the old Schwinn Stingrays of the ‘70’s, mine was gold his was red (or vice versa? Doesn’t matter..). Those early bikes were the bomb, banana seat, round curved frame, high bars. So cool. But it wasn’t until we ventured into BMX in the late 70’s with the triangle frame designs that got it really going. He had a yellow BMX frame (name escapes me), but it had a Tange fork, aluminum mags and solid chromoly Sugino one-piece cranks. Totally the bling of the day. By age 11, I was taking bikes apart all the way to the bottom bracket and coaster brake and rebuilding them to make them better. After my brother passed, I found comfort in riding a bike, being free and escaping those things that now complicated a young 12 year-old’s mind. 1984 found freestyle BMX entering the scene and my grade school friends (Donny and Javan still ride too! Thank someone for FB) and we latched onto that like a newborn to their momma. Freestyling in the 80’s was in its infancy and there was no media, no internet and no way to express yourself for the masses. You did it for yourself. You did it for fun. We would spend hours and hours, and liters of Mountain Dew while listening to the newest Bon Jovi song, just trying to perfect, or at least complete, a trick. The winters of New England brought us to our basements, parking garages, and mechanic’s tire warehouses so we could Banana Seatkeep riding in order to finish that one trick that you’ll be able to share, physically, with a half-dozen people. The feeling that after days, weeks even months, of trying and trying to complete a freestyle move that gave you more bruises than an unpadded goalie, made you feel larger than life. Showing my mom what I could do was the best feeling in the world – and I know she had no idea what was happening in front of her, but I COULD DO IT, and it was amazing. Donny was the best flat lander freestyler around growing up, and we knew we had to try our hardest to get as good as he was, but the funny thing was, he didn’t ride the best bike in town – he rode a middle of the road BMX he converted to a flatlander: a Mongoose Californian. I had the newest Haro Master, and a few friends had the newest GT or Hutch Trickstar. But it didn’t matter to Donny, he used whatever he had and rode the shit out of it. It was the love of the ride.
 

I got my first mountain bike, a steel Giant Iguana, around the time I graduated high school in 1988, and being able to ride a bike easily through the forest around our houses was truly the feeling of being free. So this is what a grown-up BMX bike feels like? Cool. 25 years and who knows how many bikes and money later, the feeling of riding has not changed much, or at all. Taking a bike apart is like therapy for me, but I ride to escape. Escape the world, the pressures of life, and to clear your mind. I ride to try and try, and try to be better. I will work on that section, that one rock or step up until I bleed. I’ll get hurt, but I get back up. I show my wife what I can Cru Jones Helltrackride – and I know she has no idea how hard it is, but I CAN DO IT. It’s wonderful. I show my six friends the section I can clean, and you feel like a dad and his newborn baby – proud but humble. But I don’t have the newest bike or a 29er or a tweener, I have a 26”, because it doesn’t matter to me. I ride whatever I have because I do, and I’ll ride the shit out of it because I love to ride, I love the challenge, the peacefulness, and the feeling that if it’s there, I myself, am conquering it. It’s the hard climb, the pain, the serenity at the top, the technical descent, the euphoria at the bottom, and the feeling of accomplishment that I know that I did it. I did it mom. That’s why I ride.

-The Moderately Upset Multi-Biker

 

The opinions and views expressed in this article by the Moderately Upset Multi-Biker are not the opinions of the Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association.

The Moderately Upset Multi-Biker

Moderately Upset Multi BikerThe 2013 Bike of the Year is a $10,000 bike.  Surprised?  I hope a bike at that price wins something.  If the automotive media used that same logic, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta at $315,000 should be car of the year, not a VW Passat.  I don’t get it.  Where is the mountain bike industry going?  What is its future?  What are they pushing this year?  How do they intend to get more people to get into the sport when it costs upwards the price of a Nissan Versa or one semester of college just to hit the trail?  And what’s driving this train?  Time to evaluate.

It dawned on me today as I was riding my 26” 6-year old bike that I bought when I was just freshly married with only one kid, why some people think we’re “crazy” for buying bikes that are so expensive.  Because we are crazy.  Addict crazy.  Jack Nicholson Shining crazy:  “Heeeeeerrre’s money!!!”  Sure, I had just finished being single (8 years ago) and had a good bank account and plopping $5k down every other year wasn’t the issue, I was an addict.  I had a problem.  I bought what they were selling. I kept asking my married buddies, “Why don’t you just buy…” then it hit me (after #2 arrived) why they rode it till it broke:  shit’s expensive.  And it’s not getting any cheaper.   Look around, then ask yourself, “Why”?  I saw a comment someone posted on a website article once that reflects this writing, “Why does a mountain bike cost as much as a YZ450f?”  Very good point.  Why??  I’m sure the YZ has updated technology and the alloy frames are not cheaper than the steel versions they used to build, and a 4-stroke has to be more complex than the old 2-stroke.  But a 2014 Honda CRF450R sells for $6,300, and I bet you could name a dozen ALLOY bikes that cost as much.  The aforementioned Nissan Versa retails for $11,990 with the Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 selling for $9,250.  We laugh and kid when a rider has a bike that costs more than his car, but he wasn’t driving a Lexus.  So what drives us to buy the best bling or the newest product?  The need or the marketing?  TV’s used to be $5000, the same TV today is $850.  So what gives?

I have to stop my 17 year-old all the time to stop buying into what they’re selling you, and think about what’s right for him.  As most teens today, they start at the top, the best, bling!, because they are sold on the marketing.  Headphones.  Tablets.  Shoes.  Phones.  Computers.  Cars.  The list goes on.  We know as parents that there are cheaper alternatives and those will do just fine.  Like Rodney Copperbottom says, see a need, fill a need (I’ve seen too many kid’s movies).  Sometimes we upgrade their purchase but regret it because it didn’t do anything but collect dust.  Sometimes it actually worked out because it got plenty of use (like a good pair of shoes for an active athlete or a computer for a graphic artist).   But you know what they sell us through marketing?  The BEST.  Not the entry level but the shiny premium one with a satellite antenna.  So we go into the store and struggle with the downsell or overbuy because we bought into that it will make me better.  I sold cars for a while, and it was tough to sell a car that is priced right for a person rather than getting them buried (or declined) when they wanted the Platinum-Turbo-Leather-Shift-on-the-Fly- Holley-Dual-Quad-Hurst-Shifter-Walnut-Grain F150.  Finding the product that is right for you is tougher than it should be when it changes as often as your underwear, or when the marketing is pushing on you this year’s color.  That persimmon frame was so “in”.

Just think about it.   What happens?  This is how I see it:  Scene 1, Act 1:  Bob and Jay are kickin’ it in the garage over the newest IPA.

Bob:  I’m ditching that big ring.  Getting a bash ring or a guide!  2-ring set-ups are the rage!  Besides, I just got this new 10 speed derailleur and cassette.

Jay:  You had to buy a new frame because your old frame didn’t have that ISCG-05 mount, right?  How much did you spend?

Bob: I was told this new extruded-hydroformed-magnetized-homogenized-plutoniumized alloy frame was the way to go. $2,500 for the kit!  UPS should be here any minute.

Jay: Cool.  Your components will swap right over.

Bob:  Sort of.  I had to get a new headset.  It comes with this sweet tapered headtube.  They said it lasts longer with less wear.  I’m not sure if I noticed anything before.  Damn it if I just bought that 1 1/8” Chris King.

Jay: What size do you need?  44?  52?  Integrated? What’s the standard now??

Bob:  I dunno.  I just got this new fork 6 months ago.  Cost me a grand!  They said the standard QR was weak, so I went out and got a 36mm fork with a 20mm axle.  Totally re-designed internals they say!

Jay: Dude, 15mm axles are so much better!  Lighter and just as strong!  A 36 is heavy, you should have gotten a 34, plus, they re-engineered the internals for 2014.

Bob:  UGH!!  (drinks)

Jay: Don’t worry.  My new carbonized all-mountain 29” squish frame has this bottom bracket that won’t accept the carbon cranks I just bought over the summer to save 35g.  Some “press fit” thing they say is stronger because of the bigger bearing.

Bob: Wasn’t that road stuff?  It’s called something like BB30, BB90/95, PF86/92, PF30??

Jay: Yep.  Now I hear they are going back to threaded because of the noise.  UGH!! (drinks)

Bob:  Oh, did I mention I need a new seatpost?  That 27.2 is too small.  I’m not sure what I need.  I’ve got a slightly used dropper for sale now.

Jay: No, I have 31.6.  But you’ll get $50 for it somewhere.  I think you have 30.9.

Bob: I know.  But at least I have my Mavic Crossmax UST 26” wheels.  That will save me money.

Jay: UST?  Dude, so yesterday!  Now there is Tubeless Ready tires and rims.  You can use almost any tire!  Did you see the 650b?

Bob: (drinks)fast_ups

(***UPS pulls up***)

Bob: My new frame!

(Opens box, checks out new ride)

Jay: What’s up with the rear end?

Bob: What is that?

Jay: It’s a through-axle dude.

Bob: (drinks)

Jay: Oh, did I mention 1 x 11?

 

As soon as you buy it, they change it.  I’m not sure the general consumer has noticed the need for tapered head tubes, larger bottom brackets or a through-axle rear wheel.  Bikes have become so stiff that anywhere else there is so-called “flex” it must be made out of carbon or magnesium or Kryptonite to make up the difference.  But there were two inventions that were by far the best ideas that FILL the need of the average rider: Dropper posts and disc brakes.  One saves you from injury to the baby making region and the other stops you consistently, safely and also while in the rain.  These probably haven’t made you a better rider, but they have made the ride better.  Speaking of…what has made you a better rider?  If you say 29”, cool.  But that’s a choice of wheel size rather than clever marketing.  Carbon bars didn’t make you a better rider, wider maybe, but not the carbon.  Neither did the carbon cranks, or the rigidity of carbon wheels, or a rear through-axle.  I begin to wonder where road bike technology will stop boiling over to the mountain or did mountain bike manufacturers give up on development and decide to look at road bikes for inspiration?  The current road bike is an offspring of bikes developed for The Grand Tours.  Teams went to carbon frames for rigidity for sprints, lightness for climbs, and comfort over alloy.  They also went to carbon wheels due to the power transfer from the rigid frame were now being felt at the rickety alloy wheel.  This is also where the larger bottom bracket region came into play (prior to BB30-types).  The power sprinters put down is by far more than anything we as mountain bikers will force upon our cranksets (besides a 10 foot drop).  The tapered head tube was developed to withstand braking forces at the lower head tube while stopping from 60mph and vibrations over cobblestone roads like Paris Roubaix (please don’t sue me Specialized!).   There is no suspension fork or low pressure tire to compensate for all of this – all vibration and force goes right to the head tube.  So how does this technology truly apply to mountain bikes?  Probably for the XC racing hardtail or short travel rig.  Probably.

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I can imagine a time when you were on the trail and said, “Damn, I hate always stopping to adjust my seatpost” and POOF!, a smart product arose by two guys and a small company not pushing their product.  We adopted it.  WE chose it.  And now a dropper post is vital part of a bike.   But what else did you, as a non-professional, really wished to change?  Most would say the weight of the bike. Super light durable wheels the price of two mortgages to save 300g?  $2400 vs $750 rounds out to about 4 bucks a gram.  Would you spend $4 on a gram of anything?  Besides THAT!  I’ll spend the $80 and have my hub re-laced with a new rim.  And who says what’s light?  I think your bike is light, you say heavy.  You say his is heavy, but he’s faster. This reads like a Dr. Seuss book:  “Carbon this, carbon that, carbon is where it’s at.  30 gears, 20 gears, 10 gears, now 11.  Numbers go down, and price goes to heaven”.  And what about that front derailleur?  Is it THAT bad?  Dropped chain?  Ahh, about as common as a flat, but they have yet to solve that problem (Stans dries out, so don’t even!…)  The rear, not so much.  Chains jump up over the top gear, chain suck, slamming the derailleur then a bunch of misshifts during a ride, or any breakage (cable or unit) and the ride is done.  Kerplut!  But we’re addicts, we need 1 x 11, because every print, media, and outlet says it’s the best.  But at what cost?  $1200 for 11 speed, or $420 for 30, (and you don’t need a new wheel. XX1 requires new freehub body).  Explain that to your kid: Pay more for less.  Great marketing!   So look at all the other “standards” the industry pushed on us to buy over the past 5 years, they are now passé.  The cost to upgrade has now skyrocketed beyond most people’s means, and we seem to be bucking the trend.  I’ve been reading the blogs, and it seems that although we LOVE the new bling and 2013 Bike of the Year, we just can’t afford them.

What’s driving this train is marketing and the need to fill the newest “gizmo” and to tell us “you need this”.  What’s not driving it is fun. Fun should be at the market forefront, and ride whatever it is you ride, we’ll improve what you’re using.  But they are not.  They’re telling you that 9 speed is dead (hell, 10 speed is now dead!), 26” is dead, alloy is dead.  So you feel dead, and lack fun, so to have fun, I need the newest.  To keep the industry going with current riders and to bring in newer riders, it should re-evaluate itself.  The technology needs to trickle down faster and at an affordable range that is truly reasonable, not in the range of a CRF450 or Versa, and without all these new “standards” that will change next year.  Give us something we can upgrade easily.  But this also means looking at what’s being marketed, who’s pushing it, and why?  This is a big purchase for many of us.  I surely want a new 27.5 bike with some good components and DW Link squish, but at $5,500 that’s just beyond my family of 4 budget.  And by the time I get $5,500, that bike is now $6,500 and outdated.  Buying a budget bike isn’t for me: 25+ years of aggressive riding gives me the right to spend more for a pair of shoes because I’m a runner.  But I can’t when a Mojo HDR 650 (XX1) cost the same as my neighbor’s CRF450.  If you can afford the pricey products on a monthly basis I’m happy for you, but is the product still right for you or are they just selling you the Platinum Turbo Leather-Shift-on-the-Fly-Holley-Dual-Quad-Hurst-Shifter-Walnut-Grain F150?

-The Moderately Upset Multi-Biker

 

The opinions and views expressed in this article by the Moderately Upset Multi-Biker are not the opinions of the Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association. 

we_are_open

Welcome to the new SNMBA website

Well folks, as you can see the new SNMBA website is done. We are open to feedback and we are excited to keep evolving it into a resource that will bring SNMBA members together. Our goal is to bring visibility to the Southern Nevada area to showcase our beautiful area and world class trail networks that span every type of riding. Many thanks to everyone that made this possible. We at SNMBA wish you a Happy New Year and we hope to see you on the trails soon. Leave a comment below or in the website forum and let us know what you think. We do still have a few small bugs so let’s keep the website low key for a few days so we can work most of them out.

MASTER TRAIL PLAN TAKING SHAPE IN CALIENTE, NV- By Patrick Kell, Southwest IMBA Director

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An 18-month long advocacy process in Caliente, NV, is beginning to bear tangible fruit. Earlier this month, Joey Klein, a trail specialist with IMBA Trail Solutions, spent a week in the area reviewing the terrain, meeting with stakeholders and beginning to develop a conceptual plan for a trail network around town. His visit follows more than a year of regular presentations on the community health and economic benefits of mountain bike trails, and sustainable trail building practices.

This project began in earnest in spring 2012, when I and other local stakeholders met with staff from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to discuss the concept of a trail system around town.

Subsequent meetings included a preliminary review of the landscape, including visiting the local state parks and historical sites, and driving up onto the ridgelines to get and idea of the vast scale of the terrain. The parcel of land managed by the BLM-Caliente Field Office is 4 million acres, so our initial review really didn’t even scratch the surface, but rather gave us a “30,000 foot view” of what could be.

We then had the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew visit Caliente in March 2013, presenting their workshops to an audience of local land managers and city officials and residents, and working on a section of singletrack at Cathedral Gorge State Park, located north of Caliente.

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Later in the year, I did a presentation for the Caliente City Council to further explain the concept and process of developing a purpose-built trail network, and received a favorable response. I then went on to do a similar presentation to Lincoln County Commission, where I announced that IMBA’s Southwest Region will commit $5,000 from the IMBA Trail Building Fund to get the initial planning phase started in earnest in 2013. The County Commission soon followed up with a generous matching grant of $5,000.

All of that led up to Joey Klein from IMBA Trail Solutions coming for a visit, which began with a stakeholder meeting including a core group of staff from the BLM and Nevada State Parks, city officials (including the Mayor and a couple of local residents), and area riders and business owners. Joey presented on contemporary trail design and construction techniques, then got into more detail on bike-optimized trails, citing examples of purpose-built mountain bike trail networks, including IMBA projects in Sandy Ridge, OR; Copper Harbor, MI; Coldwater Mountain, AL; and at a series of state parks throughout Wyoming.

Joey also discussed the benefits to local residents that such a network can offer, and the economic impacts from literally tens of thousands of visiting riders. After this initial meeting, Joey spent the remainder of the week exploring the area surrounding Caliente, including visiting nearby towns, state parks and closed mines, and learning more about the terrain and how a trail network could link it all together.

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Downtown Caliente’s elevation is about 4,300 feet, and is easily accessible from both Las Vegas and Cedar City, UT. The ridgelines and peaks in the region rise as high as 9,000 feet. Along with a vast backcountry canvas on which to design trails, the public lands roll right onto Main Street, offering a unique opportunity to design a trail network that could literally emanate from downtown and be accessible from city parks, schools, residential neighborhoods, and state parks.

Imagine what an amazing resource it could be for local residents, local businesses and visiting riders whom could all benefit from this purposefully designed mountain bike trail system!

The next step in the process is to write up and present a report to the stakeholders, summarizing Joey’s week in Caliente and the surrounding mountains, showing where different zones of trails could be located and how the network would fit together. There may be opportunities for many miles of singletrack loops for all abilities, bike parks and skills areas close to town, and shuttle runs to the west.

After I present the initial findings, Joey will visit again—likely in spring 2014—to begin plotting trail corridors in greater detail and to produce documents that will help with the permitting process.

IMBA, local supporters and I see an amazing opportunity in and around Caliente, and are further motivated by the response from our partners in the area. A BIG thanks to the stakeholders who have been involved so far (and who have hung with this), and to all of the folks who contribute to the IMBA Trail Building Fund, which allows us to keep doing this work.

Stay tuned as things develop in Caliente, NV, in the coming months and years.

Photos thanks to Joey Klein

SNMBA / GBI Trail Maintenance

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The past few days we experienced some rain on a consistent basis which pushed our GBI maintenance days out, but it gave Vince, our trail guru, some time to view the rain and how the water acts on our trails, specifically the Spanish Trail climb out of Blue Diamond. He noted that the work we did with BLM / IMBA held up well but the water had very little places to naturally run off the trail, hence the continual erosion of that particular area. The work we did not negatively affect the hill, but he noted it can be better. What he also noticed, and something we as riders typically don’t see because our heads are pointing down as we climb or paying attention to the trail at speed going down, is the natural lines that water has in the hills and ground. From the air, it is plain to see - the “fingers” and grooves that water made over a vast period of time working it’s way to lower ground and it’s resting place. These natural fall lines and washes were there before us and are still trying to find the path of least resistance in getting to the bottom. The oldest trails are made from either burros or an old road, and neither of which did not have any thought process or planning for placement, therefore, they do not hold up to continual water and runoff.  Newer trails follow the IMBA trail building guideline of avoiding the fall line, building in grade reversals, and bench cutting properly.  Trails across the United States and Canada follow these guidelines and have fared very well under foul weather.
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SNMBA members resting midway through Kibbles n Bits.

SNMBA members resting midway through Kibbles n Bits.

Cowboy Trails are a legend here in Las Vegas.  A trail system that is definitely a black diamond style trail with great XC mixed in.  Build next to and within existing the Cowboy Trail Rides, we share many of the trails within this network, as well as some hiking trails.  These trails are not for the weak at heart as one mistake can lead to some of your DNA left on the trails.

Trails start at the parking lot, “Cowboy Trail Rides” which is 1 mile past the Red Rock entrance.  Going from the parking lot, you’ll have to climb.  There is no option yet for DH from the top (how sweet that would be though!).  Beginning the climb, you can choose the most direct, Bunny Trail to Fossil (which can be periodically chewed up by horses) or up Kibbles n’ Bits which is equestrian free.  They end at the same intersection, but pick your poision - K&B is fun but challenging, Bunny->Fossil is also fun but less technical.  From that intersection, you have multiple options to get to the top which is highly recommended.  Check out our Trails Section to view your options.  If you choose the shortest most direct route or a longer finger loop, it doesn’t matter, the view from the top is the best in the valley, hands down. Continue reading